Guest Column | May 13, 2013

Beginner's Guide To Selecting A VMS

Education IT News For VARs — November 26, 2014

by Scott Freeman, WYNIT Solution Engineer

Selecting a VMS can seem to be a daunting task – every software suite has their own strengths and weaknesses, often obscured in spec sheets multiple pages long. While some of these features may seem inconsequential, there are four features that are worth the effort to track down if you want to create a long lasting surveillance solution.

The first thing to check for is camera compatibility. Once you select your cameras, verify that the features you need on those cameras will be functional within the VMS. It’s not uncommon that a camera is “supported” by a VMS in that it will receive video from the camera, but it may be lacking functionality on the features that made you choose that camera in the first place – such as auto tracking, specialized PTZ controls, two-way audio, and so on.

Second, make sure that the VMS can be expanded after the installation. It’s not uncommon that the user will want to add more cameras after the initial configuration.  Make sure that they can expand as needed – both by adding cameras and by adding additional sites that can be connected to the original installation. No matter what your customer encounters in the future, they should be able to expand without having to remove the VMS and start over with a new brand.

Third, and on a similar note, make sure that the VMS is not restrictive with client and feature licensing. If you are selecting a VMS that restricts how your client can view the video – be it through a limited number of clients, inability to view remotely, lack of support for mobile devices, and so on – be sure that your customer completely understands these limitations and is content with them.

Finally, I recommend selecting a VMS that is based on an open platform and supports integration with other systems. As everything is moving towards the network, more and more VMS solutions are integrating into other physical security systems that used to be considered “stand-alone,” such as access control. By tying access control and surveillance together into one software suite, customers can have a more easily managed and cohesive security system.